Many executives are familiar with the terms “gender equality” and “gender equity” and could likely define each. Some definitions may look similar to that of UN Women, which states, “Gender equity is the fairness of treatment for women and men according to their respective needs, equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities; gender equality is the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men, boys and girls.”
Or in other terms, gender equity is the means while gender equality is the end.
However, there’s a difference between knowing a definition and reaching equity and equality in real life. What would a world of gender equity look like? How would business, companies and the economy evolve? How would we all, men and women, benefit in turn?
What Does Gender Equity Look Like?
Business looks much different (and much more appealing and profitable) in a world where gender equity exists. No longer are men promoted at 30-percent higher rates than women, when women have a harder time even getting the job in the first place. Rather than simply removing formal barriers to equity, we make conscious decisions to actively promote equity. These decisions include:
- Publicly acknowledging pay disparities between women and men and then closing the gaps.
- Expanding female leadership.
- Engaging female talent through both recruiting and retention efforts.
These simple yet highly effective decisions add up to $4.3 trillion to the United State’s GDP. As gender inclusion increases, companies see better financial returns, including revenue, profitability and lower volatility for stock.
Gender equity is now more than a dictionary definition. It is a concrete and tangible reality. Its meaning positively impacts not only our wives, sisters and daughters, but our husbands, brothers and sons and every single business in the country and potentially the world.
The Result: Gender Equality
Once gender equity is reached, it’s only a matter of time before we achieve true gender equality. Gender equality further benefits every person and business — both economically and globally. In fact, if women and men had similar economic participation, the annual global GDP could increase by 26 percent by 2025.
Beyond the business benefits, family life stands to benefit from gender equality as well. Studies predict that once gender equality is obtained, family relationships will become more stable and fertility rates will increase as women in more developed countries no longer force themselves to choose between children and career. Meanwhile, in lesser developed countries where unchecked population growth puts a strain on the environment and economy, gender equality, particularly as it pertains to education, can curtail population growth. Additionally, evidence from multiple countries shows increasing the share of female-controlled household income changes spending in ways that benefit children.
It’s a Future We Can Achieve in Our Lifetime
The World Economic Forum reports it’ll take us 217 years to reach an equitable future on a global scale. Pipeline believes we can achieve this future in our lifetime — and why wouldn’t we want to?
In order to do so, action is required. For maximum effectiveness, companies need a gender equity plan with specific goals, progress markers and next steps, all driven by data from within your company.
Where to Start
Step One: Begin with correcting gender equity in your hiring and promotion processes.
When you’re changing leadership or adding new staff members, champion the deserving women in the room. If needed, remove the names and other gender identifiers from your screening processes. Instead of paying incoming female talent based on prior salary history (which could be a reflection of gender inequality at prior companies), look to the industry averages.
Step Two: Make sure your current employees are aware of your commitment and embrace gender equity as part of your company culture, an initiative that employees can support.
Only 22 percent of employees say that gender diversity is regularly measured and shared within their company. According to a recent Accenture report, gender equity and equality in the workplace starts with a supportive culture that incorporates inclusion, and everyone benefits as a result.
For example, in organizations with a culture of equality:
- Women are four times as likely to advance.
- Men are twice as likely to advance.
- Women can earn up to 51 percent more.
- 95 percent of employees are satisfied with their career path at the company.
You Have Everything to Gain
The future of gender equity is bright, and you don’t have to wait 217 years to experience it. Push your organization into that future as you incorporate gender equity into your culture. Take the necessary steps to reach specific and attainable equity goals.
Pipeline can help you get there. Through cloud computing and artificial intelligence, our platform uses your company’s data to analyze your current state, make suggestions and then track your growth toward gender equality.